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Family name: Asteraceae

Scientific name: Platycarpha glomerata

Authority: (Thunb.) Less.

Synonyms: Cynara glomerata Thunb., Stobaea glomerata (Thunb.) Spreng

Zulu names: ubani, imbozisa, isiphahluka, ukhula, umabopha, umbola, umkhwibi ompofu, usigcawu

Short description: P. glomerata is a perennial herb with spiny rosette leaves and an inflorescence that’s composed of numerous tubular flower heads that are purple in colour when young and fading with age to almost white.


The Zulu name “ubani” means “lightning“. The name also means “who is it?“, an expression often used when someone is knocking at the doors.

The plant gets the name ubani because it is used to protect against lightning.

Related uses: An infusion made using the plant is sprinkled in and around the home as a protective charm against evil spirits and lightning during a storm. The plant is also used to treat sweaty and smelly feet.

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